The Changing Strategic Importance of the Middle East and North Africa

Volume One: The Strengths and Limits of Oil and Gas Wealth and the Challenge of Climate Change and Great Power Competition

This publication has been updated as of February 24, 2023.

The Emeritus Chair in Strategy has issued an updated book-length report that is part of a two-volume series. This volume of the series focuses on the changing strategic importance of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region entitled The Strengths and Limits of MENA Oil and Gas Wealth and the Challenge of Climate Change. It focuses on the energy and other economic aspects of the strategic importance of the region—which is dominated by its current and future oil and gas exports.

A downloadable copy is attached to this webpage, and the report can be downloaded from the CSIS website at

The analysis begins with an overview of the key factors shaping the region’s changing strategic importance. It then focuses on the oil and gas exports, which are the key factor shaping the region’s strategic importance, its role as a group of major trading partners, its role as a key line of global communication between regions, and its role in global migration.

The analysis then provides a country-by-country overview of the key quantitative and trend data on oil and gas exports. It shows that there is only a limited consensus between various sources and just how different the resources and exports of given countries are.

It shows that the level of energy exports dominates the strategic importance of the region but is concentrated in a small number of Gulf states.. Israel is currently the only state with an advanced enough economy to export advanced goods and services, and that ranks as a highly developed state for at least its Jewish population, although Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE are making important advances.

The report addresses several key issues affecting the future of the region’s exports of fossil fuels in detail, with supporting graphs, maps, and charts. These issues include major changes in the patterns of future energy demand and the potential impact of global warming, the changing expert needs of developed and developing states, the impact of the war in Ukraine on energy demand, the impact of strategic competition with Russia and China on energy security, and the real level of U.S. dependence on the stable flow of oil and gas exports from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

The Table of Contents includes:

MENAVol1 Updated ToC

The second volume is entitled The Impact of Growing Military
and Civil Instability in the MENA Region
. It addresses the data and trends in regional security and military developments and the problems in governance, economic, population pressure, and other key causes of civil instability. It is available on the CSIS website at

Anthony H. Cordesman

Anthony H. Cordesman

Former Emeritus Chair in Strategy